Originally Posted by Dieben
Yes, if the lab uses stale chemicals to process your film the quality of your work is ruined. It's better to develop film yourself. And paying big bucks for dye transfer does not always guarantee great prints.
Dye Transfers . . .
The DT (or Wash-Off Relief process in the early days) is an exacting process with zero room for errors or sloppy work.
For the uninitiated, a DT print is a created using a largely black and white process. Yourr color image is color seperated and individual negatives are created for each color channel.
Each negative is then contact printed to individual sheets of matrix film.
After processing the matrices, they are individually dyed in cyan, magenta and yellow dyes and then, each matrix is transferred in perfect register to a sheet of specially treated paper.
If you watch your moderncolor printer work, you might notice that the final color image is built up through sucessive spraying of cyan, yellow and magenta dyes.
If the worker is skilled, the result is glorious. Bad printers do produce bad prints, that is for sure. And most certainly, exhausted chemicals are bad. I never let that happen because exhausted chemicals lead to unrecoverable problems.
By the way, the famous Technicolor (IB) motion pictures was a dye transfer process. Technicolor cameras were huge cameras. They would create three black and white negatives. They were noisy and they required large amounts of light. You will often see pictures of the cameras and some of the bulk came from blimps to keep the noise levels down.
Hundreds and hundreds of Technicolor films were printed and shown to millions when Technicolor ruled. The wife of the inventor of the process handled the majority of the color timing and she was brilliant as was the inventor of Technicolor.
Too bad both processes are effectivly dead.
By the way, one of the world's finest DT printers is still going strong. He compounds his own dyes, paper mordants and he actually makes his own matrix film. His film is actually superior to Kodaks; or at least every bit as good.
He built a custom ultra-high resolution film scanner.
Too bad Kodak stopped making DT materials. When they announced they would stop offering materials, many printers stocked up.